New LEAD Program to Prepare Student Leaders

September 27, 2017 – For high school students looking for leadership opportunities in college, Bryan College’s new Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program will provide a perfect fit. The four-year program, which officially launches in the fall of 2018, will equip students with leadership skills and experiences to further make a difference for Christ in today’s world.

Students in the LEAD program will take leadership academic courses, participate in training and seminars from leadership experts, and serve in applied leadership roles in student organizations. While in the program, students will be able to major in any discipline offered at Bryan with the opportunity to earn a minor in leadership as well as a certificate upon graduation.

“My desire with this program is to help students maximize their God given talents,” said Chris Hawkins, director of the LEAD program. “I want to make sure that a student coming to Bryan College has the opportunity to learn exactly who they are in Christ and to sharpen their leadership skills through practical applications.” 

Requirements for students in the program include: demonstrated leadership ability in high school, cumulative GPA of 2.5+ with an ACT score of 18+, and a desire to honor Christ through service and leadership opportunities on campus.

“With the amount of biblical leadership training and experience that students in the LEAD program receive, we anticipate that they will naturally step into positions of leadership in their places of work and worship when they leave Bryan College thereby increasing their impact for Christ with those around them,” said Tim Hostetler, Vice President of Student Services and Ministries.

Hawkins, a 2003 Bryan alum, came to Bryan College after serving at the Christian Academy of Knoxville as a Bible teacher. While at the Christian Academy of Knoxville, Hawkins also taught a leadership class and served as the school’s head wrestling coach and an assistant football coach.

Scholarship opportunities will be available for students. For more information about the program, contact Chris Hawkins at or 423-834-1207.

“I am looking forward to 10 to 15 years down the road when we can see the fruit of the program,” Hawkins said. “To be able to see young movers and shakers out in the workforce wanting to impact culture for Christ gets me excited. I hope that this program will produce individuals who are capable leaders influencing the next generation for the kingdom.”


Written by Curtis Jolley

Engineering Program Announced for Fall 2018

September 19, 2017 Bryan College announced the addition of a four-year engineering program. This program is set to become available to students by the beginning of the Fall 2018 semester.

The new Bachelor of Science in engineering major* will feature two program options in mechanical and civil engineering. Throughout their course of study, students will gain knowledge in manufacturing engineering to better equip themselves for careers after graduation.

Bryan currently offers 25 accredited majors with 49 unique fields of study, so the addition of this program will further the variety of studies available to students. Bryan’s program will differentiate from other regional schools in that courses will be taught from a Christian worldview and will present information in a missions-focused context.

“One of the major goals with this program is to provide students with the knowledge and resources to go into the mission field, both locally and globally, to make a difference in the world for Christ through engineering,” said Dr. Lyle Smith, Director of Engineering Development.

To accommodate the program, Bryan plans to renovate sections of the third floor of Mercer Hall in order to offer state-of-the-art lab space, a large-tiered classroom, faculty offices, and a conference room for the incoming Engineering department. A separate Maker Space will also be added to offer students access to resources and equipment to construct class projects.

Students in the program will complete a senior capstone course that will allow them the opportunity to work with local manufacturers in Dayton and the surrounding region to gain real-world knowledge and application of concepts.

“The engineering program is a wonderful opportunity for Bryan College to enable students the chance to live out our mission statement. This will enable them to work both in industries here in the United States, as well as in countries around the world,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “Doors are open in virtually any country to engineers who can assist with infrastructure needs and sanitation and clean water projects while sharing the gospel.”

Prospective students interested in majoring in engineering are encouraged to apply now to Bryan to be able to start the program by next fall.

For more information, please contact:


*The Bachelor of Science in engineering major is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

SouthEast Bank Awards Scholarships to Group of Bryan Students

September 18, 2017Four students at Bryan College were recently awarded as SouthEast Bank Scholars and received scholarships to help continue their education and make a difference in today’s world. The scholarships provide each student with $7,000 annually to offset the cost of tuition and assist in accomplishing academic and personal goals.

“We appreciate the investment SouthEast Bank is making in our community through these students,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “It’s amazing to see what this bank is doing in the community, and that means so much to these students, who wouldn’t be able to come to Bryan otherwise.”

Criteria for the SouthEast Bank Scholars program includes exceptional character and academic commitment. In addition to meeting the minimum criteria of achieving a 3.25 high school grade point average or a 23 ACT score, students must also have a demonstrated financial need and community involvement.

The scholarship program is designed to recognize and reward outstanding students seeking higher education in Tennessee, underwriting tuition expenses for qualified incoming freshmen at participating colleges and universities statewide. SouthEast Bank, with total assets in excess of $500 million, operates full service banking offices throughout the regions of East and Middle Tennessee.

“SouthEast Bank is proud to support the local colleges in our area,” said Randy Wells, Senior Vice President at SouthEast Bank. “Bryan College has always been an important part of this community and the bank is excited to contribute to the success of the students. We consider this an investment in the future.”

Upcoming Mane Event Allows Prospective Students to Experience Bryan College Firsthand

September 7, 2017 – For high school students looking for a chance to experience what Bryan College is all about, the upcoming Mane Event is the perfect opportunity. This overnight visit event will be held on September 21 and 22.

“This is a great opportunity for high school students to come to Bryan and experience what your life would be like as a student here,” said Kerrie Murphy, Campus Visit Coordinator. “When students are considering visiting colleges during their junior and senior years, it’s important to make sure they get a chance to really gauge how you will fit into the environment of that school.”

Guests will have the opportunity to attend classes, spend the night in the dorms, and get to know potential future classmates. Current Bryan students will host guests and introduce them to student life, professors, and a tour of campus.

“We hope you’re able to come and find out what makes Bryan College such a unique place to study and how we can help you become a difference maker,” Murphy said.

There is no cost to attend the Mane Event, but registrations are required. To register, visit


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Get to Know Dr. Scruggs, New AGS Dean

September 6, 2017 – Over the summer, Dr. Adina Scruggs was named the new dean of Bryan College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS). Dr. Scruggs graduate in 1991 from Bryan with a degree in business administration. She began her teaching career at Bryan in 2008 and has held several leadership positions including director of the MBA program, business department chair, and Assistant Dean of AGS.  

How do you hope the AGS programs can help prepare students to make a difference for Christ?

“The very nature of non-traditional education is based on the concept of redemption and completion – finishing what was started or advancing to a new level. We love hearing the stories of why students are returning to school and want to help equip AGS students to make a difference in their own mission field. I love the fact that the academic disciplines represented in our programs (business, Christian ministries, psychology, education and coming soon, criminal justice, all represent professions where our graduates can truly make a difference in their world whether that is a corporate cubicle, a church, or a classroom.”

What is a typical day like in your new position?

“Every day is completely different, but my big rocks are developing new programs and continued growth in current programs. What that looks like on a daily basis includes attending academic and strategic meetings, troubleshooting issues as they arise and brainstorming about ideas. I love the challenge of finding ways to be more efficient and effective in our ministry. My favorite activity is connecting with students and hearing their stories.”

What has been your favorite part about Bryan since you started teaching? 

“As a Bryan student, I learned so much from my professors. I appreciated (most of the time) their challenges for me. The most rewarding part of teaching at Bryan has been to give back to students as a way of continuing the tradition of academic rigor and building character.

What was your favorite memory about Bryan as a student?

“As a student, I worked as the student worker in the business department and was the business manager of student government association. Both of these extra curricular activities taught me valuable lessons in time management and budgeting. I can see now how much of my work experience was part of God’s preparation in my life for my daily tasks.”

How do you hope to grow the program for the future?

My four strategic pillars for AGS are:

  1. Ensure consistency

We are working on that with assessment of current curriculum and needed improvements.  We recently completed IACBE accreditation (10 year review), SHRM certification for MBA-HR

  1. Equip staff/faculty

Faculty development opportunities, clear communication of expectations for faculty, online tutoring for students

  1. Expand product offering

M.Ed. – Child and Family Services

MBA – Healthcare Management

MBA – Sports Management

  1. Extend the reach of the Gospel and Bryan College

Be sure that our curriculum is based on Biblical foundation and faith is integrated into each course.


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Hundreds Gather to View Solar Eclipse


August 23, 2017 – On Monday, hundreds of people gathered on Bryan College’s campus to view the solar eclipse that featured more than two minutes of totality. Guests came from as far away as Virginia and Florida to witness this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“My husband and I drove up from North Alabama and I’m so glad we chose the college as our eclipse viewing spot,” said Larisa Thomason, a visitor from New Market, Al. “The campus is beautiful and provided such a welcoming atmosphere.”

Dr. Jud Davis and Dr. Lyle Smith gave presentations to guests regarding some of the science behind solar eclipses and what the Bible says about God’s design for the universe. To help further celebrate the momentous day, the College handed out Moon Pies and set up a solar telescope viewing station to view the sun as it was eclipsed by the moon.

According to NASA, this was the first solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S. since 1918.  



Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Student Leadership Conference Equips Students for Upcoming School Year

August 21, 2017 – As the new school year begins, more than 100 student leaders gathered together for the Student Leadership Conference held on Bryan College’s campus.

“Our hope is that our student leaders were able to connect with one another and experience a broader sense of unity,” said Tim Shetter, Assistant Dean of Students at Bryan College. “Ultimately, we wanted them to see the role they play in the overarching leadership of Bryan College and the potential impact on our current environment, as well as the world outside of Bryan.”

Seth Flores, a 2011 Bryan alum and District Manager for Chick-fil-A in Knoxville, served as the conference’s keynote speaker. A central idea of his message to students was that “Your ability to lead is impacted by your ability to grow.”

Other featured speakers at the conference included Bryan College faculty members Taylor Hasty, Dr. Scott Jones, Eric McEachron, Chris Hawkins, and Kim Tuttle. These speakers spoke to students about Bryan’s shared values on servant leadership, Christian formation, and community.

Students at the conference were represented by several students organizations on campus including: Student Government Association (SGA), Worldview Initiative, student ambassadors, resident assistants, worship leadership, Devotion, athletic team captains, orientation group leaders, Enactus, chorale officers, and Practical Christian Involvement (PCI).

“The leadership conference inspired me to take an honest look at the challenges that face us as student leaders, and to be intentional in seeking the Lord’s guidance in upholding the values of Bryan College, and representing the Lord well in any leadership role I have,” said Ashley Sharp, a senior psychology major who attended the conference.

The three-day conference also included team building activities and time for fellowship among students.

“This Leadership Conference was a success because of the commitment and involvement of our faculty, staff, and administration,” Shetter said. “They committed time, energy, and a willingness to serve our students. It was a team effort from the beginning to the end and everything in between.”


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Mark Ritchhart Named Bryan College Softball Coach

August 16, 2017 – Bryan College announced the hiring of Mark Ritchhart as the new Head Coach of the Lady Lions Softball program.

“I am extremely grateful to Bryan College and my Lord to receive this coaching position,” Ritchhart said. “Every step of the hiring process was a confirmation that Jesus is at the center of Bryan College.”

Ritchhart, a Northeast Missouri State University alum, brings a wealth of knowledge and more than 20 years experience of softball coaching to Bryan. He is a certified personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a six-time 2A Florida Coach of the Year, earned the title of District Coach of the Year during nine consecutive seasons. He most recently served as the head softball coach at Central Christian College in McPherson, Kan. from 2015-2017.

“I am very excited to bring Coach Ritchhart on staff as our softball coach,” said Taylor Hasty, Athletic Director at Bryan College. “He has a wealth of experience as a coach, and his heart for furthering the Gospel in the lives of his players speaks volumes about the work he will do here at Bryan as a discipler.”

Ritchhart served at Pine Castle Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla. for 15 years, beginning in 2000. In addition to serving as the school’s softball coach, he served in a number of other positions including: Athletic Director, Dean of Students, Director of Student Development, Director of Character Development, and Bible and Physical Education teacher. While coaching at Pine Castle Christian, he earned a positive, highly respected reputation in the state of Florida for running a collegiate style program, producing both high character and level of play. Success trailed Ritchhart in the starting of two travel softball programs that were known for keeping Christ above all else and competing with fundamental and aggressive play.

“This opportunity excites me greatly, because Christ-like Character is also what drives my softball program,” Ritchhart said. “My visit to campus was the validation that this is where I can build a team that will have an impact for Christ, both on and off the field. I pray our softball program will be known around the area and country by the way we conduct ourselves, exude excellence, and produce outstanding young women.”

For more information on Bryan Lions Softball, visit and follow the Lady Lions on Twitter @BC_softball14.


Written by Wesley Sanders, Sports Information Director

Bryan College Anglers Crowned Bassmaster National Champions

August 14, 2017 – The Bryan College fishing team recently added one more accolade to their historic season’s resume: National Champions.

For the Lions, it was the work of freshmen Jake Lee and Jacob Foutz that led them to their first place finish in the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops in Bemidji, Minn. The game plan of Lee and Foutz was to fish Lake Irving, a body of water just south of Bemidji Lake, and it proved to pay off. The key to all of the fish the Lions were able to catch came from juggling a frog lure early on and progressing to the shore.

“We don’t depend on any single individual, but each tournament there is a boat that steps up to the plate and delivers,” said coach Mike Keen.

In just the third year of the program’s existence, the Bryan Lions Fishing Program has recorded School of the Year and National Championship titles, establishing themselves as a collegiate fishing powerhouse.

“We had a frog bite going on and we caught a couple key fish every morning,” Foutz said. “As soon as the sun came up that bite faded and we would start flipping docks and shoreline cover.”

Lee and Foutz are now competing for a chance at becoming the Classic victor, which would earn them a spot in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, entry into all nine Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens next year, and a brand new four-door truck and boat wrapped in the school’s colors and the school’s name to use for the 2018-19 season.

“This week was amazing – it showed us that we can come here and compete with the best college anglers in the country,” Foutz said. “The goal is to always win a national championship, but now our sights are focused on the bracket. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum there.”

Written by Wesley Sanders, Sports Information Director

Bryan College to Offer Martial Arts Academy Beginning in Fall 2018

August 4, 2017 – Beginning in the fall of 2018, Bryan College will offer a four-year Martial Arts Academy program for its students. This new program, led by David Holcomb ’94, will serve as a leadership development program designed to provide students with a balanced mix of martial arts training and spiritual formation.

“To be able to bring together the two things that influenced my life the most – my martial arts training and my Bryan College experience – is truly an honor,” Holcomb said.

Students will have the opportunity to work towards a black belt in Isshinryu karate or their 1st through 4th degrees. The school will also offer scholarships to students based on demonstrated martial arts proficiency as well as financial need.

Through this program, which is fully backed by the International Isshinryu Karate Association, students will receive credit for their training and have opportunities to compete annually in weapons kata, empty hand kata, and point fighting. In addition to martial arts training, students will develop a biblical worldview as well as the ability to think and communicate well to others.

“This Academy will work to improve students’ physical and emotional well being,” Holcomb said. “While students will spend the majority of their time on physical aspects like conditioning, kata, weapons, self-defense, fighting, and body mechanics, the remainder will focus on spiritual and mental aspects.”

Holcomb said that his goal is to grow the program to eventually host a collegiate martial arts tournament on Bryan’s campus.

“There’s no school in the country that offers this type of program. With this program, you could potentially get a black belt within four years at Bryan College.”

Bryan College President Dr. Stephen Livesay shares his excitement for the program and what it will mean for the school going forward.

“At Bryan College, we offer programs that meet the needs of our ever-changing community. This program will not only be impactful for the individual students, but also in positioning the College in a national spotlight.”


For more information about the program, please visit here.